Democrat Cecilia Tkaczyk’s early declaration of victory on election night has rung true more than 70 days later.
Tkaczyk will represent the newly drawn 46th Senate District after her campaign’s appeal to count additional ballots led her to beat Republican George Amedore by 19 votes as of the afternoon of Friday, Jan. 18.
Tkaczyk thanked supporters and volunteers who helped with the campaign and post-election ballot counting process, despite being considered a long shot by many political forecasters.
“No one believed our campaign had a chance in a district hand-carved by Republicans, and yet the power of good ideas and a strong campaign proved itself,” Tkaczyk said in a statement. “I am honored to stand with Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, and my fellow Democratic senators, in pursuing the common sense, progressive agenda that New Yorkers demand. I look forward to hitting the ground running to serve my new constituents because there is no time to waste addressing the many challenges facing our state.”
Acting Montgomery County Supreme Court Justice Guy Tomlinson previously certified Amedore the winner on Dec. 19 with 63,141 votes, a 37-vote lead over Tkaczyk. Tkaczyk’s attorneys then appealed Tomlinson’s decision and asked for more than 300 invalidated ballots be counted.
The state Supreme Court Third Judicial Department’s Appellate Division unanimously ruled on Jan. 9 that 99 more disputed ballots be counted. A majority of those ballots came from Ulster County, which was Tkaczyk’s strongest showing on Election Day. They collectively proved to be Amedore’s swan song in the contentious election.
Amedore said he was “proud of the honest and clean campaign” he ran. He thanked supporters of his campaign and the constituents he’s served as an assemblyman.
“I was supported by the hard-working Upstate families who are faced with tremendous challenges in these trying times,” Amedore said in a statement. “The time for politics has ended and the time to govern is at hand.”
Amedore urged lawmakers to address the concerns of Upstate residents and said he would continue to advocate for them.
“As a small businessman born and raised in Upstate New York, I understand the everyday issues. I believe our representatives need to act on behalf of those who call Upstate their home,” Amedore said in a statement. “As I’ve done throughout my life, I will continue to advocate for the people’s needs and hope for a brighter future.”
Assemblywoman Patricia Fahy, D-Albany, a fellow political newcomer, congratulated Tkaczyk on her “more than well-deserved” win.
“Our long, Upstate election ordeal is over and the future looks incredibly bright with Senator Tkaczyk,” Fahy said in a statement. “This was grassroots at its finest and should serve as a lesson that — despite long odds and faced with an opponent for whom the district was carved out for — the voice of the voters was heard and not the voice of special interests.”
The senate race became more heated as Election Day neared, with advertisements from political action committees dealing the harshest words about each candidate. Each candidate pointed to campaign contributions as points of contention, with both receiving significant support from political action committees.
Tkaczyk, former president of the Duanesburg Board of Education, while campaigning pointed to being a third-generation family farmer and said she was in touch with middle class concerns and needs. Some key issues of her campaign included her staunchly opposing hydrofracking, providing school districts with their “fair share” of state funding, realizing campaign finance reform and supporting women’s rights.
Despite Democrats securing more Senate seats than Republicans, the Independent Democratic Conference and Republicans will control the chamber through its governing collation.
The new 46th Senate District includes all of Montgomery and Greene counties and portions of Schenectady, Albany and Ulster counties.